Officials: Florida panther struck and killed by vehicle

FORT MYERS, Fla. – An endangered Florida panther has died after being struck by a vehicle.

It’s the third panther death attributed to fatal collisions, out of four total deaths this year, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. A total of 22 Florida panther deaths were reported in 2020, with 19 killed by vehicles.

The remains of the 2-year-old male panther were found Thursday in Lee County on a rural road near Wild Turkey Strand Preserve, wildlife officials said.

Florida panthers once roamed the entire Southeast, but now their habitat mostly is confined to a small region of Florida along the Gulf of Mexico. Up to 230 Florida panthers remain in the wild.